When the weather warms in spring across Georgia and the South, motorcycles are everywhere on our roads. That is why May is recognized as National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. This month with warm, sunny weather is an appropriate time to remind all drivers to be on the alert for motorcyclists. With so much motorcycle traffic on the roads, serious accidents are more likely.
In 2016, 4,976 motorcycle drivers and passengers died in accidents, and 88,000 were injured. For 2009, the most recent data available, there were 140 motorcycle fatalities in Georgia. Fatalities for motorcyclists have risen 3% since 2006, and 8% since 2015. The National Safety Council also reports these concerning statistics about motorcycle accidents:
- Motorcycles are only 3% of all registered vehicles in the U.S., but account for 13% of all fatal accidents.
- 26% of motorcyclists who died in 2016 were under the influence of alcohol.
- 91% of motorcyclists who died in 2016 were men.
Be Aware of Motorcycles
One of the biggest causes of motorcycle accidents is that other drivers simply do not see them. Most of the vehicles on our roads, after all, are cars, trucks and SUVs – big vehicles that are (usually) easy to see. Motorcycles are much smaller, and sometimes other drivers fail to see them.
This is illustrated by the fact that most serious motorcycle accidents are caused by a non-motorcycle driver who violates the motorcyclist’s right of way. A common scenario is for a car driver to turn in front of a motorcyclist because he didn’t see the cycle. Also, car drivers often do not properly anticipate the movements of the motorcyclist, leading to a serious accident. Another common problem is when a motorcyclist is in the driver’s blind spot.
So, it is important for car and truck drivers to be on the look out for motorcycles. They have the same right to the road as any other vehicle.
Tips for Motorcyclists
Motorcyclists also have a part to play in staying safe this spring in Georgia and throughout the country. First, statistics show that riders age 50 and older constituted 36% of motorcyclist deaths in 2016. These may be riders who first rode decades ago and are taking it up again in their older years. The problem is there is more traffic, motorcycles are more powerful, and distracted driving is worse than ever. Older cyclists may be out of practice, as well. If you are an older rider who has not been on a bike in years, it is smart to take it slow and get your skills up to speed before hitting the open road.
Also, keep these safety tips at top of mind:
- Wear a full coverage helmet.
- Look for a DOT sticker on your helmet that signifies it meets the toughest safety standards.
- Do not buy a used helmet — ever!
- Make sure you have a bike with antilock brakes.
- Take a motorcycle safety course if you are a new rider.
- Never consume alcohol before riding.
If motorcyclists and other drivers work together, we can prevent most motorcycle accidents across the country.
Contact a Georgia Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Motorcycle accidents can be catastrophic. Injuries can include head trauma, spinal cord damage, broken bones, road rash and more. If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident or lost a loved one, The Mann Law Firm can help. For years, our law firm has been helping Middle Georgia residents who have been injured in motorcycle and car accidents. You could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost earnings and pain and suffering. Please contact The Mann Law Firm for a free consultation today.